Socially loud! Can you hear us?


December 19, 2012


The NBJC Team sending you warm wishes for a safe and wonderful holiday season.

We work daily toward full equality with a guiding principle of em>Building Stronger Black Families

supportive of our community–Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.


Have something to share?  Email

to submit ideas for

the NBJC E-Digest.

Blacks' Evolving Views of Gay Marriage

Campaign Focuses on Young, Gifted, Transgender and Black

Gay-Marriage Views and the Black Gender Gap

Arcus Foundation Encourages Donations to Grantees on Giving Tuesday

Supreme Court to Take on Same Sex Marriage 

NBJC Attends Ford Foundation's "Out for Change" Summit

NBJC Conducts Storytelling Workshop at Damu Smith Training Institute

NBJC Attends Hate Crimes Coalition Meeting

NBJC Joins National Center for Transgender Equality at its Ninth Anniversary Celebration

NBJC Attends White House Briefing on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Georgetown Law School Hosts Symposium on "Race, Sexuality, Gender and the Law"

NBJC Joins Coalition Report Warning "Fiscal Cliff" Will Hurt LGBT Americans

NBJC Amps Up HIV/AIDS Focus and Efforts

NBJC Attends Facing Race Conference

Join NBJC at Creating Change! Register Today!

Black, Trans & Proud: You Sent Us Your Testimonies and Raised Black Trans Visibility!

Being Transgender No Longer Classified a 'Mental Disorder': APA

Where Is Sage Smith?

Community Pulls Together to Find Missing Transgender Teen

DOJ official: Fight Against Anti-Trans Bias is Top Priority 

Missing Ga. Lesbian Found Deceased in McDonough

Zero-Tolerance Policies Perpetuate A School-to-Prison Pipeline For LGBT Youth

Morehouse LGBT Course is Bold Step Towards Conquering Old Fears

Young, Gay, Black — and at Risk for HIV

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Supports Gay Marriage

JET Magazine Features its First Male Wedding Couple

Desmond Tutu Urges Uganda to Drop Anti-Homosexuality Bill 

Shonda Rhimes on Why She Has Many Gay Characters on Her Shows

 Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube View our photos on flickr

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.

Join Our Mailing List


Season's Greetings,    


We would like to wish our NBJC family a joyful holiday season! Be safe and mindful of those that are less fortunate while you celebrate with the people nearest and dearest to you.


The NBJC office will be closed December 24-26 to observe the Christmas holiday. The office will also be closed on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, December 31 – January 1.


As you finish your last-minute shopping, place presents under the tree or prepare to light the Kwanzaa kinara, consider making an end-of-year gift to kickoff NBJC's 10th anniversary campaign — a year-long celebration highlighting 10 years of advocacy on behalf of Black LGBT people and families.


We look forward to seeing you in the New Year! 

In this issue of the E-Digest: Community pulls together to find missing transgender teen; JET magazine features its first male same-sex wedding couple; and more. 

evolvingBlacks' Evolving Views of Gay Marriage

– The Root

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization committed to eradicating homophobia within the African-American community, is straight and self-describes as "a sister in the movement." She said that her commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality was inspired by the likes of Shirley Chisholm and legendary congresswoman Barbara Jordan. "I'm a Delta. Jordan was, too," she said. "After she died, I discovered she had left her entire estate to her life partner. She had been silent about her orientation because of the era in which she lived. I immediately became determined that others not bear the burden of that silence."



colorlinesCampaign Focuses on Young, Gifted, Transgender and Black

– Colorlines


[Tuesday, November 20 was] Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual date to recognize the struggles and perseverance of members of the transgender community. Leading up to the internationally recognized event, the National Black Justice Coalition launched its #BlackTransProud social media campaign to raise awareness about what it means to, as organizers put it, "live at the intersection of racial justice and trans equality."


gendergapGay-Marriage Views and the Black Gender Gap 

– The Root



Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the African-American LGBT-rights group the National Black Justice Coalition, echoed this sentiment. "Historically, black manhood and masculinity have been under attack systematically and socially. Anything that doesn't fit within that box of what it means to be a man — specifically a black man — is seen as a threat, and many black brothers want nothing to do with it." When asked for solutions on how to encourage more black men to become progressive on LGBT rights, thereby closing the gender gap, Lettman-Hicks offered, "More black, male allies need to come out and stand up for their brothers." In other words, it's not enough for the Don Lemons and Frank Oceans of the world to come out as gay. More Jay-Zs need to "come out" as supportive of the LGBT community.

arcusArcus Foundation Encourages Donations to Grantees on Giving Tuesday  

– Arcus Foundation


One of the grantees, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), launched a fundraising drive for an initiative aimed at creating the next generation of Black LGBT activists and leaders in the United States. The NBJC initiative identifies rising stars aged 18-30 in the Black LGBT movement and provides them a platform to develop their leadership abilities, use their voices, build networks, and take action in their communities. "Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of young people of color in shaping U.S. policies and in sustaining a vibrant and impactful equality movement," said Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, NBJC's Executive Director, noting a blog about Giving Tuesday by NBJC emerging leader Je-Shawna Wholley.

samesexebonySupreme Court to Take on Same Sex Marriage  



"It's going to be an important term," says Darryl Moore, a member of the Berkeley City Council and chairman of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's leading civil rights group for the Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. "My partner and I were able to get married before Prop 8 was passed, but [we] want everyone else in California to be able to have that opportunity," said Moore.

fordfoundationNBJC Attends Ford Foundation's 'Out for Change' Summit 


The Ford Foundation brought together LGBT leaders and allies, artists, journalists, technologists, policymakers and funders to explore what are the next opportunities for progress for the LGBT movement, how social justice can be inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, and how to engage broad communities in securing basic right for LGBT people. As a Ford grantee, NBJC was honored to be a part of this distinguished and powerful gathering, and was represented by NBJC's Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks.


damusmithNBJC Conducts Storytelling Workshop at Damu Smith Training Institute 


Damu Smith Training Institute (DSTI) is an initiative of the Institute of the Black World devoted to building skills and capacity to advance Black community organizing, community development and servant leadership. This year's theme for DSTI was "Building Bridges, Building Black Power." NBJC was proud to bring an LGBT lens to progressive Black organizers from various grassroots organizations around the country. NBJC Communications Director Kimberley McLeod conducted a training about how to make an issue a compelling story for the media.



hatecrimesNBJC Attends Hate Crimes Coalition Meeting   


NBJC's Policy and Networks Associate, Rodney Nickens Jr., attended a Hate Crimes Coalition meeting at the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice presented on the recently released 2011 FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Act report. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement agencies reporting hates crimes will be able to get even more specific when reporting bias motivation. For example, the new bias categories of gender and gender identity — which added four new bias types — were added to the FBI's hate crime data collection as a result of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Human Rights Campaign also presented on their recently released Municipal Equality Index (MEI) which is the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law and law enforcement agencies.



transanniversaryNBJC Joins National Center for Transgender Equality at its Ninth Anniversary Celebration  


The National Center for Transgender Equality, a social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment, celebrated nine years of advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration, and empowerment. Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin Jr. was one of many honorees who provided inspirational remarks about the importance of transgender equality. NBJC was proud to commemorate this milestone with the organization at their anniversary celebration.



dayofremembranceNBJC Attends White House Briefing on Transgender Day of Remembrance


A group of transgender community advocates met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people. At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people. NBJC board member Kylar Broadus and trans pioneers such as Earline Budd and Dr. Ayana Elliot were in attendance.



speakhoyaGeorgetown Law School Hosts Symposium on "Race, Sexuality, Gender and the Law"  



NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks appeared on a panel during the "Race, Sexuality, Gender and the Law" Symposium being sponsored by Georgetown OutLaw, the student LGBTQIA group for Georgetown Law School. The symposium addressed pressing issues in LGBTQIA people of color communities, including: the segregated nature of the LGBTQIA world; the failure of the mainstream LGBTQIA movement to address issues relevant to people of color communities; the effect of religion on policy making; and the invisibility of the violence, homelessness, etc. that effects the transgender people of color community. Other panelists included Center for American Progress' Aisha Moodie-Mills and Human Rights Campaign's Cuc Vu.


fiscalcliffNBJC Joins Coalition Report Warning "Fiscal Cliff" Will Hurt LGBT Americans   



NBJC joined a coalition of 23 national LGBT organizations, led by the Center for American Progress and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, to release the report Caught in the Budget Battle: How the 'Fiscal Showdown' Impacts Gay and Transgender Americans which highlights how across-the-board cuts under sequestration would reduce key federal programs and services that support the health, wellness, and livelihood of LGBT Americans and their families.



nastadNBJC Amps Up HIV/AIDS Focus and Efforts



NBJC Policy and Programs Manager Michael Brewer and NBJC Policy and Networks Associate Rodney Nickens Jr. attended a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill about the role of HIV criminalization at the local and state level. Hosted by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), the Center for HIV Law & Policy, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the briefing featured remarks from the Congresswoman, a compelling documentary entitled "HIV is Not a Crime," and an interactive dialogue with constituents affected by HIV criminalization. NBJC also participated in a White House meeting hosted by the Office of Public Engagement and Office of National AIDS Policy to discuss HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community.


raceconferenceNBJC Attends Facing Race Conference



NBJC Programs and Outreach Associate Je-Shawna Wholley was asked to participate in Applied Research Center's (ARC) Facing Race pre-conference convening, Better Together. The pre-conference event is a national, multi-year project at ARC to help bridge the racial justice and LGBTQ movements, develop and test inclusionary issue framing, and help elevate the messages and leadership of queer people of color (QPOC) to a visible media platform. Facing Race is a flagship conference on racial justice and is the largest gathering of racial justice leaders, educators, journalists, advocates and activists in the country. Wholley provided insight on organizing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the South. Other Facing Race conference participants included trans writer and advocate Janet Mock.

creatingchangeJoin NBJC at Creating Change! Register Today!


January 23-27, 2013, the 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change is coming to Atlanta! Creating Change is an annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies. NBJC will be among this year's presenters. Join us for our workshop "Beyond 2012: Crafting an Agenda for the Black LGBT Community." Limited income rates available.



btpkyeBlack, Trans & Proud: You Sent Us Your Testimonies and Raised Black Trans Visibility!  


In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, NBJC collected submissions for our "Black, Trans & Proud" campaign. The response and outpour of appreciation was beyond anything we anticipated. The campaign quickly went viral. Black, beautiful and trans men and women from across the country sent us their powerful testimonies and stunning portraits. Say it loud: I'm Black, trans and proud!


View the submissions here: 


dsm5Being Transgender No Longer Classified a 'Mental Disorder': APA  



The American Psychiatric Association has revised its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and it no longer lists being transgender as a mental disorder, among other changes announced this past weekend. Transgender people will now be diagnosed with "gender dysphoria," which means emotional stress related to gender identity."Gender identity disorder" had been listed as a mental disorder since the third edition of the DSM more than 20 years ago.




sagesmithWhere Is Sage Smith?  

– Huffington Post


Unless you've been following the work of Monica Roberts, The Opposing Views and David Lohr over at The Huffington Post, you probably don't know that a trans teenage girl from Charlottesville, Va., has been missing for nearly 20 days. By flipping through mainstream newspapers or watching the evening news — both nationally and locally — you wouldn't know that Sage Smith, 19, was reportedly last seen by her family on Nov. 20, and police, despite allegedly "working daily on the case," haven't been able to locate a suspect, a man whom they had previously interviewed. You also wouldn't know that her family and friends have had to organize their own search-and-rescue missions, because by most estimations the police aren't doing enough, and judging by their comments to media, they have little if any respect for transgender individuals.




missingteenCommunity Pulls Together to Find Missing Transgender Teen



A 19-year-old transgender teenager has been missing since Thanksgiving weekend, when she was supposed to show up to her family's house as a surprise but never arrived. Sage Smith, also known as Dashad Smith, last communicated with family on November 20. Erik McFadden, 21, was supposed to meet Smith that night, reports. A week later, no one had heard Smith's whereabouts, so locals started to press the Charlottesville, Va., police to put greater efforts in their search for Smith.




dojaustinDOJ Official: Fight Against Anti-Trans Bias is Top Priority

– Washington Blade 


A high level official with the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division told transgender advocates on Dec. 5 that the department has and will continue to use its law enforcement powers to fight anti-transgender discrimination. In a speech before the National Center for Transgender Equality's 9th Anniversary Awards Reception in Washington, Roy L. Austin Jr., Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, said the DOJ has investigated and taken action against hate crimes, school bullying, and biased policing that target the transgender community.



lisalawsonMissing Ga. Lesbian Found Deceased in McDonough  

– The GA Voice

Lisa Lawson, a missing 40-year old lesbian from Henry County, has been found dead, according to a post on social networking site Facebook made by Lawson's girlfriend, Michelle Alexander. "I am tremendously grateful for the community in the way they came together to help find Lisa. No matter what, we support one another," Alexander said. "We're planning to have a vigil next week. I want to celebrate her life and that's what we're going to do." The city of McDonough is currently investigating the cause of death, the press release said. No other information was included.




zerotoleranceZero-Tolerance Policies Perpetuate A School-to-Prison Pipeline For LGBT Youth 

– ThinkProgress

The U.S. Senate held a landmark hearing Wednesday, December 12 on ending the nation's school-to-prison pipeline that affirmed that gay and transgender youth also face harsher punishments in schools than other students, which disproportionately pipeline them into the juvenile justice system.



morehousecourseMorehouse LGBT Course is Bold Step Towards Conquering Old Fears

– The Maroon Tiger 

Some would say Morehouse College consists of a homogeneous demographic though it regularly boasts of having an aura of diversity that is often ignored from the outside looking in. This realization of diversity has taken new form as the gay/straight alliance and student advocacy group, SafeSpace, through the hard work of Dr. Michael Hodge of the sociology department, has officially received the green light to launch a special topics course on Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and culture to be offered for credit Spring 2013.



blackhivYoung, Gay, Black — and at Risk for HIV

– The Atlantic


Too often when we hear stories about people who have HIV, it is followed by a discussion of what they did to put themselves at risk. But for many young gay black men, what they've done isn't what is driving them to have the highest HIV rates in the country. Several studies show black gay and bisexual men wear condoms more often than white men. But because they are coming of age sexually in a population that already has a high HIV prevalence, one slip-up creates a higher probability of infection.


kasimreedAtlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Supports Gay Marriage

– The GA Voice


On December 11, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed stated his support for marriage equality for same-sex couples, capping off a controversy that has dogged him since his 2009 mayoral race. Reed made the announcement via a lengthy press release about his decision to sign a marriage equality resolution passed December 3 by the Atlanta City Council. The resolution, approved by the council by a vote of 11-2, was sponsored by Council member Alex Wan, who is openly gay.




jetmarriageJET Magazine Features its First Male Wedding Couple

– MSNBC     

For the first time in its 61-year history, JET magazine has featured a male LGBT couple in its popular wedding announcements section. Ravi Perry and Paris Prince appeared in the Dec. 10 issue, which announced the couple's August wedding in Massachusetts, the first state in the country to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples."President Obama has evolved [on marriage equality], and now we can add JET magazine to that," Prince said on MSNBC. He and Perry spoke with Thomas Roberts about the historic moment in the magazine's history just as the Supreme Court announced its decision to take on two same-sex marriage cases next year.


tutuDesmond Tutu Urges Uganda to Drop Anti-Homosexuality Bill

– Huffington Post  


Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Tuesday (Dec. 4) urged Uganda to scrap a controversial draft law that would send gays and lesbians to jail and, some say, put them at risk of the death penalty. "I am opposed to discrimination, that is unfair discrimination, and would that I could persuade legislators in Uganda to drop their draft legislation, because I think it is totally unjust," Tutu told reporters at the All Africa Conference of Churches meeting.



rhimesShonda Rhimes on Why She Has Many Gay Characters on Her Shows

– IndieWire  


When a fan asked Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes why she had so many gay and lesbian characters on her TV shows (in addition to Grey's, she produced Scandal, Private Practice, and the short-lived Off the Map), Rhimes had a lot to say. "Because I believe everyone should get to see themselves reflected on TV. EVERYONE…And FINALLY: because as long as someone feels like it is okay to ask the question 'why all the gay people on your shows', then there is still a HUGE problem that needs to be solved."






The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.